My name is Emily Cea. I am a senior, graduating in December with a Bachelor of Science in Health Promotion. As a junior in high school, my mother recommended alternative medicine— yoga and meditation more specifically— as a way to cope with some anxiety problems I was having at the time. After spending hours each day researching alternative medicine therapies to gain a better understanding of the practice, I quickly became obsessed and started using yoga and meditation as an outlet to curb any signs of stress.
Exactly four years later I took my first neuroscience class with Dr. Tony Riley and a health promotion class with Dr. Thomas Nassif. They both noticed my interest in human behavior, the brain, and alternative medicine and directed me to the same resource: The Mindfulness Center (TMC). Infatuated with the idea of working at a center that combined all of these fields, I took to the internet once again to do some digging. On their website, The Mindfulness Center prides themselves on, “promoting health and self-healing, for individuals and the community, through charitable, educational and research programs in mind-body practices.” TMC has transcended traditional approaches to medicine which, today, involve prescription drugs and frequent visits to the doctor. Instead, they encourage people to explore evidence based, holistic therapies to treat the root of their ailment.
So far, volunteering at TMC for my Community Service Learning Program credit has taught me about program development, implementation, and management at a non profit organization. When I signed up to volunteer at this site, I was completely unaware of the services The Mindfulness Center provides to the Bethesda community and beyond. The Center has become so successful over the years due to the diversity of their classes and programs and the effectiveness of the practice.
The Mindfulness Center attracts everyone from beginners who are curious about mind-body therapies to more advanced yogi’s who have been engaging in the process for years. As a volunteer I have seen both of these types of people, and everyone in between, come in seeking treatment. When I first visited The Mindfulness Center, I met with Aurora Hutchinson, one of the warmest, most peaceful individuals I had ever met. We spoke for about 30 minutes, discussing the services the Center provides and how people integrate the practice into their everyday lives.
Coming from a very progressive town, I was expecting TMC to incorporate the same services that were offered back home, such as yoga, meditation, acupuncture, and tai chi. After talking to Aurora, I was astonished to learn that in addition to offering these classes they also have various programs and services available. From their Veteran Reintegration program to the Mind-Body for Cancer program, the services offered at TMC cater to a large number of people looking for alternative and/or complementary treatment options.
I am connecting my CSLP credit to my Health Communication class. In doing this, I have had the opportunity to take part in analyzing social media trends and composing posts for their various social media sites. Learning about software such as Hootsuite, Google Analytics, and Twitter Analytics has been such an enriching experience. Through this process, I have learned about how an organization can format and frame their social media posts to cater to a specific audience. I have also learned about what channels are most effective for communication both within their organization and outside in the community as well as the benefit of offering such diverse programs to reach a wider circle of clients.
Coming to The Mindfulness Center every Friday is something that I look forward to. Walking through the front doors and smelling incense immediately puts my mind at ease. I would encourage anyone thinking about exploring the world of alternative medicine to look into The Mindfulness Center in Bethesda, MD. Engaging in the practice can truly be a life-changing experience.